If anyone has not yet been to the Wexner Center’s Performance Space, it is an opportunity one should not miss. The space is big enough to accommodate a crowd, but remains intimate — a perfect combination for singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten’s set Thursday evening.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., resident has come out with several albums since she got her start in 2009. Most of her influence comes from folk music and folk rock, leaning heavily towards guitars, electronics, keyboards and harmonies.
She strutted on stage with her bandmates, immediately engaging in playful banter with her audience.
Van Etten opened with “Afraid of Nothing,” the stunning opener from her latest album “Are We There.” Her set mostly consisted of performances from her new album, along with a few older ones, new material and some B-sides. Other songs included “Taking Chances,” “Every Time the Sun Comes Up,” “You Know Me Well” and “I Know”.
Van Etten’s band was incredibly tight and well-rehearsed, breathing new life into her songs. All of her tunes are beautiful on her album, but more driven and powerful in live performance.
Van Etten’s clear voice mixed beautifully with her keyboardist and backup vocalist, who sang harmony and also recorded loops of her own voice for ambient effects. Van Etten’s choral background showed in her strong, bell-like voice and effortless harmony.
The singer’s polite and quirky personality was a delight to witness and interact with. She often introduced songs with bits, such as “This is a song that embarrasses my parents… but they’re not here” or “This is a song about therapy and people who should go, but don’t.”
Van Etten treated fans and newcomers alike to an incredible performance; however, it seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. It was so easy to be immersed in her sound.